Italian, about 1280 ‑ 1348
Saint James the Major and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, mid 1340s
Tempera and gold leaf on panel
37 7/16 × 12 7/16 × 1 13/16 in. (95.1 × 31.6 × 4.6 cm.)
37 7/16 × 12 1/4 × 1 1/4 in. (95.1 × 31.1 × 3.2 cm.)
Gift from the Preston Pope Satterwhite Collection 1941.105-06
How Were These Used?
These paintings once formed part of a multipaneled altarpiece for a church. Originally positioned on the right, they flanked a larger central panel presenting the enthroned Madonna and Child. They were mirrored on the left by other saints. Beginning in the 1700s, altarpieces were often disassembled and used as individual artworks. Even those who could not read were able to recognize certain saints by their distinctive attributes (symbolic objects), usually associated with their life stories. Here, Saint James the Major carries a pilgrim’s staff and a gospel book, while Saint Catherine holds a palm branch and stands near a spiked wheel.